Target’s dollar week, MY ASS.

I don’t normally read Sunday circulars, but as we’re hard up for money and this week’s Target ad promises DOLLAR WEEK (***hearts & stars***), I made an exception.  Friends, I give you EXHIBIT A.

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You can see for yourselves the very same Bullseye & Bold Print which drew me in.

On closer inspection of the cover, however, I was dismayed to find nary an item on sale for a dollar.  Tide for $11. Charmin for $13.  Lean Cuisine frozen dinners, 5 for $10 bucks.  Hmm.  That’s odd. I thought.  Maybe they’ve saved all the real dollar deals for inside?   And so I leafed through this week’s Target circular.  CAREFULLY.  All 16 pages.  And how many of the 150-plus products advertised this dollar week did I find listed at $1?  Two.

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I cannot speak for you, but the words dollar week on the front of this week’s Target circular, to me, mean stuff selling for a dollar.  Not $11.  Not $8.  BUT ONE SINGLE DOLLAR.

Not to put too fine a point on it.  But what exactly is the meaning of a dollar week if 99% of the products advertised are selling for more than a dollar?

Would it not simply be the same week as last week, and every other week of the year, in which Target sells its stuff for more than a dollar?  And refers to its sales simply as sales?  Wouldn’t every store be having a Dollar Week THIS AND EVERY WEEK, if indeed the true definition of “dollar week” is really MORE THAN ONE DOLLAR after all?

Sewing basics: A Parable of Life.

Props to the lovely Lee_ahh over at Only Partially Insane for inspiring me to relate my own tale of sewing machines. and Life.

About a year ago, I was feeling a particularly intense urge to start sewing larger projects, things that would necessitate purchase of an actual sewing machine. I had wanted one for a coon’s age, but had never made the investment. So I did a little online research and quickly concluded I couldn’t afford much. Yes there are amazing machines out there, but most of them are way out of my league in both price and function. I was looking for something along the lines of my 7th grade Home Ec machine. This would be the model with 2 buttons, 2 functions, and dingus-proof threading. I am a handy gal, but I know my limitations. And since it had been a good 20 years since I turned out that last hot dog pillow and pair of bermuda shorts, I was going to need some help. My mom agreed to walk me through everything when she came on her next visit. Check and Check.

I began looking for a very basic sewing machine at a very basic price. Since I don’t do an awful lot of sewing, and had been acquiring fabric strictly at thrift shoppes, I hadn’t realized that many sewing shoppes have shuttered since I worked in one circa 1991. If I were a sociologist I might be interested in researching the reasons for this decline. The prevalence of women in the workforce and their corresponding lack of time for hobbies, the advent of technology and rise of global outsourcing. But as I am not, I will simply say Home sewing seems to be a dying craft. The expense & time involved in making your own things – clothes, housewares – is too great to make it practical for most women. Sad, but true.

With my closest sewing shoppe now out-of-business, I turned to none other than my beloved Target. And I was not disappointed. I picked up a sturdy looking simple Singer machine, along with notions, for about $100. YAY!! I brought everything home and set it aside for that weekend’s visit with my beloved parents. My mom – in addition to being an amazingly beautiful intellectual powerhouse and nursing exec, is also a SEWING EXPERT. She no longer has the time to undertake projects, but back in the day she made clothes for me & my sister, costumes, clothes for herself. She even used to make all her own clothes in high school. I KNOW I AM BRAGGING, but she is my mom and she rocks.

So that weekend rolled round, and I pulled out the sewing machine. And of course, as this is MY LIFE, it was inevitable that something would be slightly.. off. Or in this case, way more than slightly. I knew as soon as I opened the box that something was wrong. First of all, the cord was stuck on top of everything, not packaged properly at all. Upon further examination, I noticed there were several sections along the cord that were completely melted through, and the foot pedal was noticeably damaged. What the HELL?? I took the machine out of the box. The case below the needle that holds the bobbin (I don’t know the technical term for this) had cloth STICKING OUT OF IT along with knotted jacked-up threads. The machine itself was filthy, like someone had smeared it haphazardly with axle grease or their lunch. It had without a doubt been used – and not just used, but USED. DAMN! The old scrooge-a-roonie. Some a**hole had decided to buy a new Singer, plop their old nasty broken one back into the box and return it for a big fun freebie. And of course no one at Target had thought twice about looking in the box. Why would they? People are honest. Right?

Of course we took it back. That goes w/out saying. But it mandated no less than 2 trips to Target b/c that is how my life goes. When they finally took the stinking thing back – the SECOND TIME – they actually asked me whether I wanted to go get another one off the shelf. I politely declined. Yes, I know it was a complete fluke, my getting this broken machine instead of a new one, but WHY THE HELL RISK IT AGAIN? My mom had already left, taking with her her arsenal of sewing knowledge, so even if I did get another one, I wouldn’t know how to use it. YES, I KNOW I could read the manual, but I didn’t want to. I wanted my MOMMY. I wanted her to spend the time with me, bonding, and hanging out – laughing while showing me HOW TO THREAD THE DAMN THING. And since on my own I didn’t know anything about anything, I decided it was simpler to just say NO. Of course, I still want a sewing machine. One of those idiot-proof models, b/c that is the kind of person I am.

The parable of this simple sewing story is, in essence, the story of my life itself. I am a person who tries to be honest, to stay focused and determined, to enrich my life and the lives of others. To value the simple. And yet, I seem to – in some odd cosmic twist of fate – inevitably receive the shaft at nearly every turn. In this Case of the Sewing Machine, I was thwarted in my attempts to sew by the clever deception of others. And as in everything, I somehow managed to stay positive, to keep my sense of humor, even in the face of such adversity. I am not a paranoid person, but as the years pass and these weird and weirder things happen, sometimes I wonder whether the great cosmos has a bone to pick with me. Or perhaps it’s more like the case of me & my bird. I am just a favorite toy and have to be played with an awful, awful lot.

The day after.

So how was your Valentine’s Day?? I have to say, I am feeling a little depressed this morn. It inevitably happens after a big holiday – I get sooooo EXCITED and then it comes and then it is gone. Way too fast. This feeling probably hits most people following Christmas – I know my mom gets it pretty bad, the blues, the doldrums, but for me, it’s Valentine’s Day. Oh well. I hope everyone had a terrific time yesterday. And I hope many of you got the Valentine’s cards on time. I have been thinking about that a lot. It was a relief knowing at least one arrived safely – Thanks Hayden. Really hope that tongue thing worked out for you.

WELL since I’ve been harping on Valentine’s Day Lo these many weeks, I thought you’d all enjoy hearing a bit about what I actually did.. SO HERE GOES.

My Official V-DAY Preparations began weeks ago (yeah, I CAN SEE you eye-rollers out there) with an initial trip to Target. They have those $1 bins of holiday-themed stuff in the front of the store, and for Valentine’s Day there were lots of frogs & chihuahuas. Neither of which makes me think of love, but were very cute nonetheless. So I got Post-it notes with the frog prince & socks with chihuahua cupids. Valentine’s Day candy. Gift bags. Headbands. All adorable. They seem to stock these $1 bins with the sort of stuff you will eventually use, so you don’t feel too guilty buying it. Because it’s only a DOLLAR after all. But it always makes me wonder – all this stuff coming from China that costs $1 and looks a whole lot better than $1, I wonder how much the person who manufactured it actually earned. Even a cent? How the hell could they possibly pay a living wage to the people making this and sell it so damn cheap? And then I feel guilty. TERRIBLY guilty. and I try not to think more on that b/c I l have filled my cart. And I know that I suck as I wheel it to the checkout. And as I place those bullseye bags in my trunk I feel an ache deep in my soul which begs to be held. Like that man who earned just 17 cents for the whole lot of it.

MAN. I feel really depressed now. And It’s only 9AM. Too early for wine. I have to go raid my kids chocolates. I’ll be back in a minute…

*****TIME PASSES*****

Okay. SO weeks ago I saw this stuff and even though it was early, like the first or second week of January, I thought WOW.this stuff is super cute and so cheap! I have to stock up. I will stash it away for the ladies for Valentine’s Day. And so I did, I got a whole bunch of stuff, and even though my younger daughter was with me, I knew she would forget. It must be fun being 4.

So I got cards and candy and a bunch of other heart-themed merchandise and when I got home I hid it. Several weeks later, I was at Target again, and I noticed how picked over everything was. They still had some stuff, but no where NEAR the selection they’d had just after Christmas. This is the reason why you need to buy early, to get the good pickins. So seeing the picked over less-good pickins reminded me of what I’d already bought. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget, like when we went to Atlanta for the holidays, and Christmas morning we’re opening presents and I realized that the Vince Guaraldi CD we’d gotten my dad was actually at home in the closet. Then I had to mail it with his birthday presents a couple weeks later, and I felt a little silly b/c it was a Christmas album.

Anyway, I remembered I’d already bought a bunch of stuff, and was very happy (even though now thinking about it I am way sad and don’t think I will ever buy anything from those $1 bins – or the dollar store, come to think of it, ever EVER again. and that poor man, he is probably supporting his extended family of 15 on that cruel unfair salary, living in a waterless thatched hut next to the town garbage dump. While those stupid corporate execs at Target are living in fat plush mansions, with gold-lined toilets, drinking espressos and eating $400 steaks. Those rat bastards. And that poor man. That poor, poor man……BOY……I am so depressed. I need more chocolate. Be right back.)

*****TIME PASSES*****

SO I AM truly crazy about Valentine’s Day!!!! I have no idea why I am this way, but it’s like Christmas & Easter excitement to me, all mashed together and sprinkly with a heaping helping of hearts. I know I am a truly hopeless romantic.

My day started out like any other Valentine’s Day should – in bed next to my main squeeze. Unfortunately both of the kids were there too, having woken us @ 6 AM jumping up and down yelling HAPPY VALENTINES (YO!). When I finally extracted myself from warm covers & their grasping paws, I enjoyed a nice breakfast. And on Valentine’s Day, even my cereal says “ROMANCE”.

The remainder of the morning was consumed orchestrating my SURPRISE V-Day treat for said main squeeze. I had a covert operation going with 2 of his coworkers, little did he know.. So after stops at SEVEN (count em SEVEN) different stores, I had everything I needed. I had already gotten the rest of the things from another 3 stores in the weeks before. Including Target. SIGH……………………….. [Reaching for the chocolates.]

SO WHAT DID I TAKE HIM??! I know you are all wondering, particularly in light of all the wonderful & marvelous suggestions I’d already offered on my great big list of creative, thoughtful & CHEAP Valentine’s ideas. WELL, I made him two gift bags. In one I assembled an array of presents, and in the other I brought him a special gourmet lunch.  But the gift-giving didn’t stop there. Oh no. For the past 2 weeks I have been working on a little covert operation of my own, code name: heart pillows. You see, after wracking my brains for days and days, trying to think of how to out-do my past V-Day extravaganzas, I decided I was going to make each of my three beloveds a pillow. But not just any pillow. I was going to make themed pillows of love, dedicated to each of them exclusively. I initally thought I would make square pillows, emblazoned with each of their portraits, cut out of fabric or felt and stitched on. But when I got to IKEA (that magical store I had decided to purchase pillow fixins from), I spied the most perfectly PERFECT & enchanting pillows ever. Big fat soft red hearts with crazy arms sticking out each side. WOW. I KNEW these were IT. So I bought three – and at JUST $9.99 each, a super cheap bargain. I will not think about how they got such a super cheap bargain right now b/c I have already had to let my pants out from all the chocolates. I feel confident that IKEA paid those pillow seamstresses a just wage and they are all living in penthouses or at least apartments with clean running water. So I am not thinking of that anymore – nah-nah-nah-nah-nah I can’t hear you bad thoughts..Now I will describe what I did to these pillows.

SO I went to the craft store and bought an array of multi-colored felt and fleece sheets, some shiny embroidery thread, and several beaded felt hearts. I brought all of this home, and then periodically, over the course of the next couple weeks, when no one was looking, I would break all of it out, put on heavy rock music and start sewing. It was hard to do – not only b/c it was very labor-intensive work, but b/c my time is consumed so many other ways. Blogging, cooking, photographing, wiping up bird poo, mothering, cleaning. Plus I like to read and drink wine and watch TV. Sometimes I even shower and get dressed and leave the house. So I am usually pretty darn busy – so making these fabulous pillows took quite a bit of doing. BUT I DID IT! And here’s how they turned out:



ANd everybody LOVED them!! And they were so SURPRISED!! I am so glad they didn’t look under the bed, b/c that’s where I’d been hiding everything during the ‘making of’ process. I had to stow them in one of those huge blue IKEA bags, but they didn’t quite fit:

That doesn’t look too good.

ANYWAY, last night we enjoyed an absolutely decadent meal of crab legs, shrimp, and bread from Metropolitan bakery. Then we drank champagne, (the kids had Boylans sodas – a real treat for them b/c we don’t usually drink soda) and we all ate the chocolate chip cheesecake I’d made earlier in the day. And even though I really am NOT a fan of cheesecake I have to say it was AMAZING and I could have eaten the whole thing myself. I was feeling a bit of a pig. But I cut myself off after two pieces. So we all watched Survivor – our family favorite! Then put the kids to bed and we decided to watch Lost. What a mistake. Is it just me or does anyone else feel that Lost has become an hour-long tease, sandwiched between the most irritating and/or offensive and/or downright fool stupid commercials? I am tired of the whole drawn out process of watching this show unfold. I like long & drawn out but where is the damn black smoke and the polar bears and the crazy ass forest whispers? I don’t give a crap about Benjamin Linus. Ooooohhh scary. This show – I feel like they’re just making it up each week as they go along, trying to keep us in the dark. It is very annoying. PLUS those horrible commercials. I feel like I am being pummeled by a pharmaceutical pusher – I don’t HAVE ALLLERGIES – and then when they busted out “Viva Viagra” I nearly turned the set off. Have you heard of TOO MUCH INFORMATION? Listen, if you can’t maintain erection and have to take a pill, fine. But when they have to warn you in the commercial that “You must see a doctor to see if your heart is strong enough for sexual activity” I am thinking maybe you as a 69 year old man shouldn’t be dating a lusty 25 year old. Seriously. No offense but she’s your granddaughter for pete’s sake. Talk about putting a dampener on my own libido. SIGH…… [Reaching for chocolates].

ATLANTA, or why I love Target Brand Box Riesling.

When my sister moved to Atlanta for graduate school, I was happy for her. The separation was sad, but she was making a success of her life, and it wasn’t forever. I understood.

But when my parents decided to join her down south in Atlanta, well…..
that was just a bit too much. I felt slightly.. abandoned. Hey I know I’m way out of diapers, but I STILL WANT MY MOMMY. Atlanta is far. Far enough to make a one-day drive with 2 kids nearly intolerable, and other than freshman year of college I’d never lived more than an hour away from my folks my whole life. So when they made the move – to ATLANTA of all places, I was more than peeved. I was hurt. And angry. And not a little bit PISSED OFF, especially AT ATLANTA. What was so freaking great about Atlanta?

Man, I really hated that town. They did it right, burning it down like that. What did Atlanta think it was, luring my family away from me?

And so, for many months, I resented Atlanta like no other place in the world. It didn’t help that my family were constantly singing the praises of their new and glamorous city like fevered zealots. “ATLANTA this, and ATLANTA that.” “Wait till you see blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

SCREW COKE WORLD, I thought. At least here we have drinking water and can flush our toilets. I am NEVER going to set foot in effing Atlanta. NEVER!
That’ll show ’em!

But like sands through the hour glass….after a few months of not seeing my parents, and speaking to them less and less frequently, I caved like a sinkhole. Time apart from my loved ones had made me think differently. If Atlanta had taken them, I would just have to see why.

And so, this summer, we visited twice. And Hey Mikey! I liked it. Sure it wasn’t dirty dangerous Philly, but it had appeal. It wasn’t interesting in that old historic way, but it was BLING!BLING! like a newly-minted penny. My parents have a gorgeous home. They are happy there, except for missing us. So.. it’s different than we’re used to, but things down there are nice. AND CLEAN. And the People are pleasant. They let you in in traffic. They don’t try to run you over when you’re crossing the street. You can walk the hell out in front of their cars in a parking lot, and they STOP AND SMILE and wave you on. WOW. I DO still hate the fact that you have to drive absolutely everywhere in Atlanta, and it is hot as b*lls in the summer, but summers here in Philly are humid and disgusting too. And my parents have central air and A POOL.

So, yes, I have officially come around. And being the way I am, when I “come around” I REALLY come around. The place I once hated, now I can’t wait to visit again. And not just for my family. But for the STUFF. Atlanta has stuff we don’t have here. STUFF THAT I LIKE. On our visit during the holidays, I came to appreciate even more the charm of the place – or maybe just the charm of the shopping. It’s everywhere. Miles and miles of stores. Sure, they’re mostly the same stores we have here, but they’re like our stores on STEROIDS. The brand new Target here is like their SUPER TARGET’S shrimpy homely cousin. Their Trader Joe’s is awesome and it SELLS WINE AND BEER!!! No wonder people there are so nice. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT SORT OF CHEAP CONVENIENCE?!

I must have gone to the Super Target by my parents house 3 times in 4 days. I just never wanted to leave. I wanted to LIVE THERE. And I am not joking. I felt like some poor deprived third-worlder having stumbled upon paradise. AND I AM NOT THAT INTO SHOPPING, PEOPLE! It’s just THAT GOOD. During one of the Target shopping trips, I came upon something which stopped me in my tracks. You know how great Target is? How every single thing they make is just so irresistably cute/cool/hip and unbelievably inexpensive, that you think surely this corporation has sold its soul to the devil? Well, you will then understand what I have to say. You see, I like wine. I love wine. If I didn’t have kids, I would probably be a full-fledged wino. Well. ATLANTA TARGETS SELL THEIR OWN BRAND OF BOX WINE – but they are CUTE!! AND COLORFUL!! AND FILLED WITH WINE!! AND WHY AM I STILL LIVING HERE IN PHILLY???!! I don’t even like box wine, but now I do because it’s like everything else at Target. IRRESISTIBLE.

I bought the above box of Riesling as a souvenir to bring home, and I don’t even like Riesling. Not even a little. But I thought I WILL LIKE TARGET BRAND BOX RIESLING, I just know it! So we stuck it in the fridge when we got home, and didn’t open it all last week b/c I was so sick, but night before last we each poured a glass and I thought YES! TARGET BRAND BOX RIESLING! DELICIOUSNESS ITSELF!! But then I drank it and thought NO! DEAR LORD, NO!!!

You see, Target branding cannot make up for the fact that I hate the cloying sweetness of Riesling wine. HOWEVER, just because I hate the taste of this wine, DOES NOT MEAN I HATE TARGET BRAND BOX RIESLING> oh Contraire! SIMPLY BECAUSE I hate its taste, it means I will drink less of it. And that’s a good thing, right? After the first glass, the second goes down easy. And who can bear wasting wine, after all?